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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Girls’ Birthday Cakes + Chocolate M&M Frosting

One of the only over-the-top-Mom things I do is make fun cakes for my kids’ birthdays. Cate and Anna had both of their birthdays this week so I’ve been a busy baker! Anna opted for a vanilla cake shaped like a fish. Cate decided to go with chocolate cupcakes topped with M&M frosting. I wanted to share the cakes with you, since I always do, as well as the recipe for the frosting because it was YUMMMMMMMMM.

chocolate m&m frosting from @janemaynard

Anna’s cake was inspired by a goldfish in the Cakes for Kids book by Matthew Mead that we love so much! The cake is essentially a 2-layer cake (8 inches or 9 inches works) with a thin crescent cut off the top or each layer before frosting. Those crescent pieces become the fins. The frosted layer cake gets tipped up on its side and and then the fins are added, with toothpicks securing the top and back fins. I think this might have been the hardest cake I’ve made so far, surprisingly. It didn’t come out as cute as I’d hoped but it did come out better than I expected! 😉 Anna was completely happy with the cake and that is all that matters!

anna's fish birthday cake from @janemaynard

I think what made this cake so tricky was that I made the fins a different color than the body (to look more like Flounder from The Little Mermaid), but it’s hard enough attaching those fins without having to worry about the frosting colors mixing. Bottom line: this cake was hard but we made it work!

anna's fish birthday cake from @janemaynard

Cate took it easy on me and just wanted chocolate cupcakes with M&Ms. I decided an M&M frosting would be good and took inspiration from a recipe on the blog Cookies & Cups. I changed the recipe to a chocolate buttercream frosting and made it a little thinner. The frosting was fudgy and crunchy and oh-so-delicious. Quick note: when the frosting is just made, the M&Ms are still crunchy, but as it sits, the M&Ms get softer. This is not a bad thing, but it goes from crispy M&M fudge frosting to chunky-chocolate fudge frosting. Just wanted to set expectations properly! If you can whip up the frosting last minute, that’s what I would do! This is not to say that we haven’t happily enjoyed the leftovers!

chocolate m&m frosting from @janemaynard

If you’d like to see the misadventure I had when I started to frost the cupcakes, click here. Fair warning, it’s scary! Moral of the story? Always use a star tip when piping chocolate frosting. And that’s all we’ll say about that!

Chocolate M&M Frosting
Prep time
Total time
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted into the bowl
  • 1 cup M&Ms, processed to a coarse dust in the blender
  1. In a stand mixer or with beaters, beat together all of the ingredients on medium-high speed until well-mixed. Spread on cake or cupcakes and eat immediately! M&Ms will be crunchy at the outset but will soften as the frosting sits.



  1. Thank you for the Instagram picture. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long while. 🙂

  2. 2

    You are my hero for having 2 kids birthdays in December! I have one in Dec and one in Jan – that’s tricky enough for me!

    In regards to the hilarious poop cupcakes… they brought back memories of my childhood. My dad is a HUGE practical joker and bought some fake poop when I was about 10 or so. To this day (I’m almost 40) he still loves to hide it in our shoes or other places, just to see our reaction. Mind you, we couldn’t have any animals due to my brother’s severe asthma, but we fell for it every time! Haha! Thanks for the funny pic 🙂

  3. 3

    OH JANE!!! You’ve come such a long way! That fish cake is terrific! Give both of them birthday hugs from us.

  4. Jane that is SO stinkin’ adorable!!

  5. 5

    They turned out great Jane! So cute. That IG pic is awesome. 🙂

  6. 6

    hahaha- I’m dying over those cupcakes! Meg saw them and said “why did she put poop on them?” lol

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